Why Every Cat Needs a Cat House
Posted on August 15, 2012
Normally, the term “cat house” may invoke connotations that do not necessarily involve cats, but having houses for your cats will help them gain them an extra sense of security and belonging in your home. You can find cat houses of all different shapes and sizes which will provide many hours of enjoyment for your special kitty as they explore their new home.
While houses for cats come in many different shapes and sizes, they do share certain things in common. These features are there to help entertain the kitty while you are away and help them to relax and enjoy the environment of their home.
Enclosed box: Cats do enjoy their privacy from time to time, that’s why most cat houses have an enclosed area that is fully carpeted or covered in a comfortable fabric that keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Having an enclosed space is important as cats are more like to relax and sleep in an area where they can feel the enclosure around them, which provides a feeling of safety. However, all of these enclosures usually come with more than one entrance so a cat can see their surroundings more easily.
Perches: Like birds, cats enjoy viewing their surroundings which is why you often find them on the backs of chairs and sofas, tables and window sills. A typical kitty house will feature one or more perches that will allow your cat to view the room comfortably and relax as well. While many cats will sleep on the floor if they have little choice, most cats prefer to have a place where they can sit elevated up on a higher level. This is a natural instinct that they possess and can often be found in the wild with their much larger cousins such as panthers and tigers.
Scratching post: Kitties love to sharpen their claws, it’s an instinct they carry with them all of their lives. The scratching post allows your cat to sharpen their claws safely without the chance of getting them hung up or tangled in fabric that can do some damage to both your furniture and your cat. The materials that cover scratching posts are similar in structure to the bark of trees where cats have traditionally sharpened their claws. Resilient and sturdy, a scratching post next to a kitty house helps relax your cat and make them feel more at home.
Catnip: Often incorporated into the scratching posts, catnip is a natural substance that comes from the Nepeta Cataria plant, which is widespread in virtually all parts of the world. The effect it has on cats is varied, but the usual signs are sleepiness when it is smelled. If the substance is consumed however, the result can be anxiety, drooling and even heighten activity to the point of aggression. However, the catnip that is contained in scratching posts and other parts of the cat house is generally too deep to be consumed, only smelled by the cat which causes the mild, drowsy effects.
Toys: Some cat houses will feature a toy of some type, usually a ball on the end of a string or lace. Such toys cats generally find fascinating and will play with from time to time. Usually the younger the cat, the more likely they are to play with the ball on the string. Often they are hung from the bottom of a perch so the cat can play with them while sitting or standing on a lower level. Such play is good exercise for a kitty and helps keep their coordination sharp.
Those are the basic features of many cat houses, if you are considering adding a cat house to your home. You will need to make a few preparations to insure that you get the type of kitty house that is best suited for your cat as well as your residence. In this way, you and your cat can get the most out of your purchase.
Location: While cats have their favorite hiding places, most of the time they like to be where the action is. You should select a location for your kitty house to be in your cat’s favorite room if possible. Generally speaking, the living room and bedroom are the two most common areas of the home for a kitty house because this is where we humans spend most of our time.
If you place your cat house in a room that is rarely used and your cat does not often visit, then typically your cat will make no real attempt to become familiar with your new purchase. So you should ask yourself where your cat spends most of their time and place your new kitty house accordingly.
Multiple Cats: Having more than one cat means that you may choose a larger cat house or perhaps two or more houses for cats. This will depend in large part on how your kitties behave toward each other. Usually, cats from the same litter will often be very close, tending to relax and sleep in the same area. If this is the case, then you’ll want one cat house which will definitely serve them well. However, if your cats tend to stay in places that are away from each other, then you might want to consider getting more houses for cats. It will entirely depend on their behavior towards each other, so you will want to consider all of your options before making a purchase.
The Age of the Cat: Cats age just like the rest of us, they tend to grow somewhat less active over the years and even suffer some of the same aging processes that we do, including arthritis in some cases. One condition that cats can develop is losing their secure sense of balance over time. This is most often noticeable if you see them fall out of window sills or other higher places. If this is the case with your special kitty, then you will want to select a cat house that is lower to the ground with perches that are only a couple of feet off the floor. Such a low height will usually not adversely affect a cat if they should happen to fall. Plus, if you cat has difficulty leaping up to the couch or bed, then having their cat house on the floor makes it easier for them.
Now that you have made all of these considerations, the final step is finding the right type of house or houses that meets the needs of your cats. Many of these cat houses are priced rather competitively and you may not see much difference in similar models. However, there are three basic types to choose from when getting the right cat house for your kitty.
Floor: For older cats, a floor model cat house may be the best bet. Most of them have their houses on a pad which rests on the floor and perhaps a short perch as well, either next to the house that sits on top of a scratching post or on top of the house itself. In either case, this type of cat houses tend to be larger than ones that sit inside cat trees, so this should leave them plenty of room to move around and view their world from the safety of their new home.
Mid-Sized: This type of cat houses tend to feature more than one box or home for your cat as well as multiple perches, scratching posts and perhaps a toy or two for entertainment. The mid-size is also well suited for apartments or smaller residences with more than one cat. Many of these mid-sized cat houses feature multiple scratching posts, perches and even the occasional toy which is sure to entertain your cat for quite some time.
Large: These are the “cat trees” that we often seen in homes that reach from floor to ceiling in some cases. Such tall structures are actually perfect for kitties who love to climb and feel secure at that height. Also, it’s quite common for more than one cat to be perched in the many houses or perch areas of these very tall cat houses. Sometimes these larger versions have two, three or more enclosed box-type structures for cats to sleep in as well as multiple perches, scratching posts and perhaps a toy or two, but they are generally located nearer to the floor in case the cat should lose its balance while playing.
Cat houses come in different sizes and structures of which you can find the one that is right for your home. Be sure to clean it regularly as it can accumulate cat hair quickly and you can stock the enclosed areas with toys or other distractions for your cat so they can enjoy a lifetime of play and fun. Given that most cat houses are reasonably priced, finding one that is right for you, your cat and your pocketbook should be no trouble at all.